Could plants on desks make us work harder?

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

AC­CORD­ING to a re­port in the Jour­nal of Ex­per­i­men­tal Psy­chol­ogy, putting plants in the of­fice makes work­ers more pro­duc­tive.

The study by Cardiff Univer­sity found that over a three month pe­riod, out­put in­creased by 15 per cent when plants were added to two large of­fices.

Re­searchers say this could be be­cause fo­liage ab­sorbs pol­lu­tants, dust and bugs from the air, but they also con­clude that of­fices with empty desks are not nec­es­sar­ily more pro­duc­tive than those which con­tain bits and pieces, in­clud­ing plants.

I once worked for some­one who, at the end of each work­ing day, ditched ev­ery­thing that re­mained on his desk. This meant that as soon as this man­ager went home, we staff made a mad dash for the waste bins.

No one else was al­lowed to touch the post, so we of­ten dis­cov­ered per­son­ally-ad­dressed let­ters which had been thrown away, un­opened.

How­ever, many of my for­mer bosses did com­bine a clear desk with ex­treme ef­fi­ciency, and this, I ad­mired. I work at home now, so I de­cided to take a look at mine and Mr F’s desks, for a spot of mean­ing­less re­search.

We both have lap­tops, prin­ters and an­gle-poise lamps, but added to this, I dis­cov­ered that Mr F had red-han­dled scis­sors, a small gold box, a book on Italy and a pack of Worst Case Sce­nario Sur­vival cards (yes, re­ally).

Lurk­ing on my desk was an empty cof­fee mug, a coaster with my name on it, a honey and men­thol sweet from when I had a cough, a hair roller, a painted stone and a wire bas­ket full of pa­per la­belled Things to Do. The first on the list should be ‘tidy up’.

The Boris dead­line grows ever closer. The word on the street is: will Mr J have time for us mere mor­tals with our pot­hole prob­lems as well as be­ing mayor (for a while) and an MP?

Well, as an ob­jec­tive ob­server, and not a mem­ber of the Tory party – or in­deed the com­mit­tee who will de­cide whether he will be their can­di­date – I’d just like to point out that he would have le­gions of staff to do his don­key work for him, so it would be daft to re­ject him on those grounds. Per­haps it would be more per­ti­nent to ask whether he has a plant on his desk?

Email bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com and catch up at www. getwest­lon­don.co.uk/au­thors/ bar­bara-fisher/.

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